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Nov 14, 2017

Proud Mary Travel Guide: Marrakech

Marrakech is one of my favorite places. I'm lucky enough to be able to go several times a year to work on product development and to check in with our artisans.  One of my dear friends also lives there so it's the perfect balance of work/play and of course a feast for the eyes. Happy to share here some of my favorite spots in the "Red City"!

The hard-to-find basket souk. All photos by Harper Poe.
Brush up on your bartering skills at the rug souk.

SHOP

Chabi Chic
Sidi Ghanem #322, Rue Principal; +212-524-356-560
Wonderful handmade ceramics, baskets, textiles, and glassware. The main showroom is in the industrial city Sidi Ghanem, but they have outposts below Nomad in the medina and at Beldi Country Club.

Norya Ayron
32 Souk El Jeld Sidi Abdelaziz; +212-661-295-990
Stop here to pick up a caftan, dress, or jumpsuit by designer Norya Ayron. Originally from Algeria, she makes limited-edition statement pieces in the coolest fabrics.The shop is located upstairs at the lovely Le Jardin Restaurant.

Mustafa Blaoui
142-144 Arset Aouzal-Bab Doukkala; +212-524-385-240
A Moroccan and Sub-Saharan African interiors shop that will make your head spin. The first room is filled with six-foot-tall piles of rugs, which are pricier than the ones you'll find in the rug souk. They showcase a collection of African crafts that were all chosen with a discerning eye. Not the place to bargain if that's what you're looking for.

Rug Souk
Medina
The rug souk starts beside Café des Epices in the Spice Market. Go for boucherouites, cactus silk rugs, textiles poufs, and Beni Ourain both old and new. This is the place to flex your bargaining muscles.

Basket Souk
Outside Marrakech
I don't know the exact address of this spot, I've only ridden on the back of a friends moto and had no idea where we were, but it's on the main road going to Essaouira from Marrakech and it's worth the journey. The basket market is a row of eight-to-ten shops that carry and make baskets, rattan furniture, and other natural fiber treasures. If you love baskets and natural fibers, seek this place out.

 

Madrassa Ben Youssef.

Beldi Country Club.

SEE

Ben Youssef Madrasa
Kaat Benahid; +212-524-441-893
An Islamic college built in the 14th-century in the center of the Medina (old town). The center courtyard is awe-inspiring with intricate tile, marble, and woodwork. An amazing spot for photos.

Beldi Country Club
Km 6, Route de Barrage; +212-524-383-950
Pure magic. Go for the day: lounge by the pool, eat amazing food at the restaurant, roam the gardens, see the Beldi glassware being blown, shop at Chabi Chic (Moroccan-made textiles, accessories, and ceramics) and the Le Verre Beldi Boutique (hand-blown recycled glassware in a rainbow of colors).

Majorelle Gardens
Rue Yves Saint Laurent; +212-524-313-047
It's one of the most touristy attractions in Marrakech but it really is that beautiful. The museum shop is a wonderfully stocked jewel box filled with luxe Moroccan caftans, jewelry, accessories, and home décor. The Berber Museum has a beautiful collection of textiles and jewelry. Take a journal, stay awhile, and enjoy.

Nomad.

Beldi Restaurant.

EAT

Nomad
1 Derb Aarjane; +212-524-381-609
My go-to lunch spot while I'm doing souk shopping. I usually go for the lentil salad, gazpacho, and fresh juice.

Kechmara
3 Rue de la Liberté Guéliz; +212-524-422-532
I often need a break from the bustle of the medina, so I head to the cool, modern restaurant in the new city, Guéliz. The rooftop is a perfect spot for a cold G&T and a burger.

Café Des Epices
75 Rahba Lakdima; +212-524-391-770
If you're shopping the souks you will end up here multiple times a day. When it's super hot, I stop in for a quick juice or water, it's my meeting spot when I'm visiting with friends, and it's where I go for a WiFi break. Go up to the roof for a perfect view (and photo) of the spice souk.

El Fenn Lounge.

Riad Alba.

STAY

El Fenn
Derb Moulay Abdullah Ben Hezzian, 2; +212-524-441-210
The most stunning riad owned by Vanessa Branson, Richard Branson's sister. No detail is left undone. I usually treat myself to dinner and drinks here on each trip.

Riad Jardin Secret
43 - 46 Arset Aouzal Bab Doukkala; +212-524-376-606
I stayed here on my first trip back to Marrakech after fifteen years and haven't been able to get a reservation since. It's that great. Laid-back, well-designed, with good food and people who are always interesting.

Riad Alba
The owner Cristel is delightful and super helpful. The place is simple, bright, and well-decorated with great attention to detail. The library is amazing and full of lovely art books. The hotel is a good deal, too.

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